Transcript of LeBron’s interview with Larry King

CNN.com has the transcript of the entire interview. Here are the highlights as it relates to his pending free agency.

On what’s important in picking a team:

JAMES: Well, I mean, to me, I think my ultimate — my ultimate goal is winning championships and — and I understand that me going down as one of the greats will not happen until I, you know, win a championship. So for me, the team that I decided to go toward (INAUDIBLE) in Cleveland, that ultimately has — has the best chance for me to win a championship not one year, but multiple years. But for me to continue to get better and help that team win, I think, ultimately, would be my decision. I’m going to do what’s best for me and my family.

On Cleveland’s advantage:

KING: All right. Do you lean at all toward the place you know the best? I mean do they have an edge going in…

JAMES: Oh, absolutely.

KING: — your home team?

JAMES: Absolutely. Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it’s comfortable. So I’ve got a lot of memories here. And — and so it does have an edge. But it’s a — it’s a very — it’s going to be a very interesting summer and I’m looking forward to it.

On President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg encouraging LeBron to go to Chicago and New York, respectively:

JAMES: Absolutely. I mean and — I mean the mayor of New York is — he’s great. I mean he’s — he’s done some great things. But it is humbling, and not just from the mayor of New York, but, you know, you had a president saying…

KING: Go to Chicago.

JAMES: — you know, go to Chicago and you have other cities and — and other people wanting you to be a part of their city, wanting you to be part of their franchise. It’s very humbling, because I work very hard at my craft and what I do. So it pays off.

On the Clippers:

KING: OK. Now there’s not a good team, though, where offers continue — where the speculation is. How about the Clippers, which would put you in the same city as Kobe, in the same arena as Kobe, with a team with some nice young players?

JAMES: With some really good players. And I think everyone in Clipperland is looking forward to Blake Griffin coming back…

KING: Right.

JAMES: — and being healthy. I mean, Chris Kaman, they’ve got some really good players, Baron Davis. Some really nice, solid pieces that, you know, if they add a free agent here or a free agent there, it could be a really good team.

On whether or not he wants a say in who the coach is:

JAMES: That’s not — no, not really. You know, I think that a lot of great coaches. You know, a lot of great coaches have been part of this league for years. But I’m not one to go into the off year and say this is who I want my coach to be. Now, there are some coaches, that, you know, if I had an opportunity to play for, I would be delighted. But I’m not as far as — as picking a coach.

On his responsibility in saving the city of Cleveland economically:

JAMES: Well, I think as far as saving the city economically, I can’t get too involved in that. I can’t let that be a decision of mine or what I do with my future. But as far as what I do in the community, that has a lot to do with it, because what I do in the city of Akron and what I do in the city of Cleveland means a lot to myself. And, you know, if our — if I don’t do these things that I do on the community, locally, I will feel — I will feel bad because I feel like, you know, any time when I was growing up, if I had ever got an opportunity to make it, I will always give back.

KING: OK. So I’m not going to put words in your mouth. All things being equal, is Cleveland sort of sentimentally the favorite?

JAMES: Oh, absolutely. And it’s a — it’s a Cleveland-Akron team, because I grew up in Akron. I mean Akron is less than 30 miles south of Cleveland. So, absolutely. My whole family is here. You know, when I played high school basketball, where I grew up, in the projects, a lot of — a lot of things mean home for me here. And — and it’s not just about the basketball court.

Then Larry takes a cheap shot:

KING: LeBron James. We got a lot of answers tonight. And he took me to a lot of suppositions. I know a few places that he definitely ain’t going. There’s — let me guess, if I were a Milwaukee Buck fan, I would not have too much hope. That’s just a thought.

JAMES: That was mean. (INAUDIBLE).

KING: No — no offense.

Yeah, “no offense.” Larry kept saying over and over that LeBron wasn’t going to go to a bad team and then he brings my beloved Bucks into it. Does Larry even know that the Bucks were pretty damn good this year?

Anyway, the contention that LeBron won’t sign with a “bad” team doesn’t make much sense because whatever team he goes to will automatically become a playoff team. If he and Bosh go to New York, or he joins Brook Lopez and Devin Harris in New Jersey, or he joins Blake Griffin, Baron Davis, etc. in L.A., the team is going to be good, probably a 50+ win team.

With regard to this summer’s free agency, I’m not sure we learned much with this interview other than the fact the Cavs have the edge and are the sentimental favorite. It is interesting to hear LeBron say that he’s not responsible for the financial health of the city of Cleveland because that’s one strike against the possibility of re-signing with the Cavs.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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